One of the frequent struggles that ESN hears from students and faculty is the difficulty in bringing it all together. Here, “all” refers to the vast scope of the Christian life in the context of campus. Read through InterVarsity’s 13 (!) core values, and you’ll see what I mean. Even InterVarsity Graduate and Faculty Ministry’s Four Core Commitments present a daunting challenge for anyone:
- Spiritual Formation
- Evangelism & Service
- Integration of Faith, Learning, & Practice
I would say that most Christian communities — on campus or not — have one or more flat sides among these four commitments, perhaps even within the commitment itself. For example, I’ve seen communities that are great at service but awful at evangelism, or doing groundbreaking work at integrating faith and learning, but never seem to get around to practice. Graduate and faculty fellowships sometimes live up to the stereotype of “all head, no hands or heart.”
When it all comes together, however, it’s beautiful thing. Last month, the Ohio State Price of Life brought it all together.
This campus-wide event focused on the issue of human trafficking. The numbers are daunting: more people are trafficked into slavery today than in the 19th century, and many of them are children sold into sex trades. The sheer human tragedy moves people to work to stop this horrible crime. The Price of Life event, though, also focused clearly on the good news of Jesus Christ, who sets the prisoner free.
Here’s just a few of the ways that Price of Life brought together the whole campus and all of GFM’s Core Commitments:
- Experts on human trafficking led seminars about the current global, national, and even local situation, and how scholars can help.
- A town hall meeting brought together state and federal politicians who are working on ways to address human trafficking.
- Around campus, Proxe Stations led students and faculty to reflect on the connection between faith and child prostitution.
- The business school considered ways to fight human trafficking through social entrepreneurship.
There’s a lot more I could list, but here are some of the immediate results:
- Politicians from both major parties pledged to work together to fight this crime.
- More than 700 people took part in the Parade of Tears to raise awareness of human trafficking.
- And in case you think that “justice” events don’t focus on Jesus, more than 300 people committed their lives to Christ during the week, through the Proxe Stations, nightly events, and the Thursday night Main Event.
Check out InterVarsity national evangelist R. York Moore’s summary of the event for even more good news.
All in all, I think the Price of Life event was a marvelous example of how Christian students and faculty can be salt and light on campus.
What other examples have you seen of Christians “bringing it all together” on campus? What challenges do you see to bringing it all together?
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.